Archive for April, 2010

Bee Gees/Number Ones

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 300000004UTC 12 by marky7235

Number Ones

Number Ones is a greatest hits album by the Bee Gees released in 2004. It includes 18 of their greatest hits and a tribute to band member Maurice Gibb, who died in 2003. It is the final Bee Gees album released by Universal Records.

Rhino Records is re-releasing Number Ones worldwide in 2008 using the European track list. [Wikipedia]

Massachusetts—-Delving back into the early days of the band, this was a beautifully orchestrated song that featured Robin on vocals…the result was literally fantastic…you can not deny the pop sensibilities that this band had from the very beginning. This is literally a tour de force of sounds that defined the realm of pop music at the time. Melancholy yet bright and poppy….this remains a masterpiece of harmonies.

World—-From the onset, you know that you are being treated to a masterful delivery from some of the masters of pop music…this is genius…the mood swings and the harmonies are some of the most brilliant ever written…this song just builds and builds until your heart is left in a heap on the outside of your body…masterful…exquisite and delicois…I have to listen to this again……

Words—-This remains one of the really great minute pop classics that the band recorded. The vocal with Barry in a relatively ‘normal’ tone…the band creates a landscape that allows for emotions bleeding all over the place…this is so intense…the music builds and builds until the climax…you are left in a heap on the floor trying to move on to the next song…good luck…this will stick with you for a while.

Gotta Get A Message To You—-Wonderfully orchestrated and featuring the vocal of robin that is just a little less than the usual spastic delivery, this song is layered with wonderful melodies that really paints a picture right before your very ears…this is magical…the way the song builds and builds until the climax again leaves you almost frained…yet wanting so much more…this is fantastic…you connot deny the genius or pop sensibilities of this band…and this was way before the falsetto days!!! Wonderful!

I Started A Joke—-With a beautiful acoustic guitar delivery the song lets you know from the onset that this will become a weper…and indeed it does…but not really until Robin enters with his somewhat schizophrenic and emotional vocal…the song becomes a real song then and you are wrapped in the pain and the emotion of the song…this is tremendous…don’t listen to this if you are sad!!!

Don’t Forget To Remember—-Well….let me say that I’m not familiar with this track…it has a wonderful Country lean that makes you think about all of the pain that this family as a whole has encountered in its time…this is masterful…showing the diversity and the scope of the musical abilities of the band….this is heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time….wow!!!!…….did I say Wow???? I meant WOW!!!!!

Lonely Days—-This track allows all three Brothers to harmonize in a way that is seldom heard…the result is a perfect landscape of pop music. The track builds and builds instrumentally and vocally until you are singing at the top of your lungs and hoping that no one can hear you. This is fantastic…a band at their creative best.

How Can You Mend A Broken Heart—-Yet another track that attempts to reach inside you chest and rip you heart out…leaving veins and arteries exposed and only allowing healing from the slight falsetto vocal of Barry. What is a broken-hearted song at the onset becomes a joyous rendition of redemption by the end…this is literally genius…where do all of these feelings come from????

Jive Talkin’—-This marked the time period when the band, under the direction of Rod Stigwood, literally transformed their sound and became the band that defined the 70’s decade and at the same time became the scourge of many music listeners. this produced the greatest success possible for the band, but also invited the disdain of many music listeners all over the world as the ‘disco curse’ took its toll. None the less, you can not deny the instant catchiness and contagious sound of this song…this was only the beginning of the time when the Bee Gees ruled the world.

You Should Be Dancin’—-Steeped deeply in the Disco grooves of the late 70’s, the falsetto made the appearance and swept the entire world in a dance craze that would last for a good five years or so before obscurity would sink the band once again…this is undeniably catvhy…magnificent and full of the excess that anyone that rallied the dance floors in this time period can relate to. The orchestration is huge…Donna Summer type beats…the falsetto leaves room for imagination and the groove is irresistable…tell me you did not love this???

Love So Right—-This is really the turn of things…Barry discovered the falsetto and that it was very powerful in displaying the realm of emotion that he was feeling. this is literally brilliant…the song is full of layers and emotions that are so deep that it still after all of these years makes me think of things that are better left alone. This is the point when the band went from big…to superstardom…..this track will never grow old for me…the feeling just seems to real for me…wow…I love this. This still makes me think of Brian!

How Deep Is Your Love—-Steeped in the sounds of late 70’s. early 80’s AOR radio, the melodies and harmonies of the Brothers Gibb have never sounded better…yet another track from one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time, this is a magnificent version that features the Brothers harmonizing and for the most part leaving the falsetto crap far behind….natural always worked better for them and this remains proof positive…this is a great memory for me and it remains so to this day.

Stayin’ Alive—-Little did the Brothers know that this little soundtrack recording would change their lives and careers forever. The song defined the band and left a bad taste in many people’s mouths….rarely allowing themselves to delve into the magnificent harmonies and melodies that made the band a powerhouse everywhere but in the US. Stigwood manufactured the soundtrack and th band and to me, he did a mis service to the Brothers…they were so much more than this. None the less, this is a high point in their career and it still plays very well on the dance floor today…give me some poppers and a good partner and I’m in heaven…okay!!!!

Night Fever—-Even a bigger hit than the previous track, this eclipsed any song on the charts at the time….this was played on top 40 along side Pink Floyd and I remember the incredulous narration of Kasey Kasem at the time juggling the song between the number 1 and 2 spots from week to week. You cannot deny the feel good mood of this track…it just makes you want to look a certain way, walk a certain way and dance in a certain way…this is the epitome of Disco and it will live….infamoulsy or otherwise forever!!!!

Too Much Heaven—-This track caught me at my most turmoil adolescent best….it resonated with me in every way and I felt, of course, that the song was written especially for me. This finds Barry at his falsetto best…the band works in beautiful harmony together…gone are the heavy beats replaced by wonderful orchestration that melts your heart…this defined my generation…thanks guys!!!

Tragedy—-I remember the power of this track for me…hitting at the time in my life as it did…I also remember that all of the proceeds from this track went to UNICEF….a wonderful organization that benefited greatly from the timely release. The orchestrated build up of this song will make you weep…this is masterful…away from the Stigwood influence, the band flourished with harmonies and melodies that would melt a caveman heart….wonderful!!!

Love You Inside Out—-Kind of hit and miss for me, this track did have a nice bluest feel that veered away from the direct dance groove that the band had been steeped in…the falsetto is at an all time high and for some reason it really worked for me at the time. The vision of the band was lost at this point, with Barry controlling everything…Robin and Maurice were so important to the sound and i always though that they were almost ignored at this point in the band…just an opinion…as usual.

You Win Again—-Coming much later in the band’s career, this may be one of the best songs that the group ever recorded together. This is minus any falsetto…full instead of harmonies and a feeling of joyous empowerment that makes you push repeat over and over again…this will make you feel so strong  and full of emotion that it will become a Monday Morning song no matter what your regiment…trust me, this is powerful!!! 

Man In The Middle—-Written and released as a tribute to Maurice, this is classic yet almost devestaing in its tenderness….this marked the end of a dynasty and you can sense the emptiness…..sad!!!

***** out of 5

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Black Sabbath/Mob Rules

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 300000004UTC 12 by marky7235

Mob RulesMob Rules is Black Sabbath‘s tenth studio album, released in 1981 following the success of Heaven and Hell. It peaked at number 29 on the charts. 

It was the first album to feature Vinny Appice on drums, who had replaced original member Bill Ward on the tour in support of the previous year’s Heaven and Hell. This led to Ozzy Osbourne dubbing the line-up “Geezer and the three Wops“.[citation needed]

It is rumoured that the cover art for this album, by famed artist Greg Hildebrandt, contains a heavily disguised message that reads “KILL OZZY,”. It is apparently located toward the bottom of the picture, on the ground, written in a dark, crimson colour. However, the message is barely legible, and it is widely believed that the purported text is coincidental.[2] The artwork was not created specifically for the album, for one thing, having been done in the 1970s, but was licensed for use.

The lyrical themes are dark, notably on tracks such as “The Sign of the Southern Cross” and “Falling Off the Edge of the World”.

The Live Evil album was recorded on the Mob Rules tour.

The album is included in the Black Sabbath box set The Rules of Hell. [Wikipedia]

Turn up The Night—-This release, as a whole, seems to me the most aggressive of the Dio era Black Sabbath. This song is no exception…there is little of the mysticism and atmosphere on this release…the music is straight froward and heavier…allowing dio to really show his pipes and gives the spotlight to the band. This is classic 80’s Heavy Metal that is ALWAYS a joy to return to and enjoy. This is fantastic…..

Voodoo—-Delivering familiar strains of the trademark Sabbath song, the intro to this song reminds you of the glory days of the band. Not that the end result is a disappointment…this is classic Dio era Sabbath…there is a heavy bass guitar and drum presence that clears just enough for the vocal of Ronnie. this reminds us of the more eclectic side of Ronnie’s songwriting, but the song remains classic and plays well live even on the latest tour from the band. This is really classic Metal.

The Sign Of The Southern Cross—-Beginning with familiar acoustic refrains that we all have memorized by now, the song is full of mystical and wandering lyrics. The build up is slow, but the seasoned listener knows that the inevitable is going to happen sooner or later…this is not a disappointment…growing into one of the most wonderful and heavily dirge Sabbath songs ever. The heavy bass timbre of the band has never sounded better and Dio seems as if he is in his element as he concocts a story full of atmosphere and mystical happenings. This is familiar, tried , true and triumphant…a true classic track.

E5150—-The track has a lot of machine generated atmosphere that helped to move Sabbath into the new decade with little problem…once all of the facades are stripped away, you find that this is the same familiar Sabbath that you have welcomed and needed all along. This is different yet strangely familiar…this is the sound of masters at work and remains a very favorite track of mine…simply for the build-up and level of anticipation that would deliver a huge payoff. This is delicious Metal…long live Heaven & Hell!!! C’mon Ronnie…we all need you!!!!

The Mob Rules—-Relying on pure old-fashioned Metal, this is perhaps one of the heaviest Metal tracks that the new incarnation of Sabbath produced together. This is no-nonsense, no mystical lyrics but straight up aggressive Metal that satisfies and quenches the thirst you had but leaves you surprisingly craving more…this remains a masterpiece!!!!

Country Girl—-Much dirtier and full of blues, this is more in the line of early Sabbath…you can almost hear Ozzy singing this track….almost like it was written a long time ago and pulled out as filler for this release. I would love to hear Osbourne give this a try…I’m sure it would fit like a glove.

Slipping Away—-Delivering a nice mix of contemporary Heavy Metal and the familiar Sabbath sound, this is Ronnie in his element. It seems as if this track was built around his lyric and it works like you would never believe. This is remarkable…the chord changes stay true to the Sabbath sound, but the lead guitars are much more Dio than anyone could predict. This is a wonderful mis of two different attitudes coming together to produce a masterpiece of a song. Brilliant. The drums are…..incredible!!!

Falling Off The Edge Of The World—-Full of atmosphere and a build up that almost makes you mad, this 5 minute track shows the band delving back into the slow and dramatic deep sounds of the Birmingham beginnings. This is freakin classic Metal from the English quartet. I could never ask for a more momentous track from the band…even Ronnie seems to fall into the nostalgic groove with little problem. This is remarkable…you have never heard a bass line as powerful as this and Dio paints a perfect picture around the corners of the canvas,,,this is incredible!!! Hail Sabbath!!!!

Over And Over—-Again…..this surprises me …..the familiar sludge that defined Sabbath remains perfectly intact, despite the direction that Dio wanted to move the band into. With his vocal style, the track takes on an almost Blues style that really compliments the overall tone of the track. This is remarkably familiar yet surprisingly fresh. Fantastic….WOW!!!! 

****1/2 out of 5

Bee Gees/Size Isn’t Everything

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 290000004UTC 12 by marky7235

Size Isn't EverythingSize Isn’t Everything is the Bee Gees‘ twentieth studio album. It was released in the UK on September 13, 1993, and in the United States on November 2, 1993. 

This album marked Bee Gees’ return to Polydor Records after their 3-album contract with Warner Bros. Records.

The album was recorded during a time of considerable strain for the Gibb brothers, with Maurice Gibb still struggling with alcoholism and Barry Gibb’s wife and prematurely newborn daughter both in ill health. Barry himself was also scheduled to have back surgery.

Then on March 5 1993, the brothers’ father, Hugh Gibb, died. The date coincided with the birthday of their late brother Andy who had died in 1988.

On August 9, 1993, the album’s first single, Paying The Price Of Love, was released in the UK and peaked at #23. The album peaked at #33 in the UK in late September. It then disappeared from the charts, only to return in December 1993 when the album’s second single, For Whom The Bell Tolls, became a UK Top 5 hit. The album then peaked at #23. In all, the album spent 16 weeks inside the UK Top 100 and was certified Gold by the BPI for sales of over 100,000 copies. A third single, the ballad How to Fall in Love, Part 1 was released on April 4, 1994 in the UK, peaking at #30. This made Size Isn’t Everything the first Bee Gees album to contain three UK top 30 hits since 1979’s Spirits Having Flown and many consider this album their strongest post-Saturday Night Fever album to date.

Reaction to the album in the US was less successful, where their album peaked at #153 and spent only 3 weeks inside the whole Billboard 200. The single Paying The Price Of Love reached #74 in the US during the Christmas season.

Reception of the album was mixed around the world, though it is notable that it was one of the most successful Bee Gees albums in Argentina, peaking at #1 due to the big success of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” there. Worldwide sales of the album are estimated to be over 700,000 copies.[citation needed]

According to Barry when interviewed on American breakfast shows was asked why the album was called “Size Isn’t Everything” and he explained that The Bee Gees have never been hyped and that they have always had to prove themselves musically so the title came from that idea.

Barry also commented that the song they had written from the album called “Blue Island” was “The nicest song they had ever wrote”.

The album was dedicated to their late father, Hugh Gibb. [Wikipedia]

Paying The Price Of Love—-Long one of my guilty pleasures, the music of The Bee Gees has always entertained me and made me smile. This release is no exception. I literally love this release…who cares what the critics or public things. This track finds The Brothers Gibb in perfect harmony and full of magnificent dance grooves. Barry sounds steeped in 1979 and the falsetto is welcome and at home on this cut. The Brothers come together in a harmonious chorus that just elated me…this is top-notch!!!

Kiss Of Life—-Showing signs of the age of this release, this track is steeped in 90’s synth sound that dates it. Robin begins with the vocal and the song transforms into a huge dance song with a strong bass beat. This is remarkable…when the voices come together and soar, you are urged to jump up and down and allow yourself to be lost in the song. This is joyful, energetic and full of all the classic sounds this trip was known for. Fantastic!!!

How To Fall In Love Pt. 1—-Barry opens this song with an almost a capella vocal…the slow swell of the music matches the growing intensity of the lyric and vocal. This is layered and full of quasi-orchestration that produces a magical relaxed feel. The chorus is a thing of true beauty…when the Brothers sing together it is a masterful thing of beauty. This is wonderful…great memories.

Omega Man—-The choice track from this release, this has become a really favorite track of mine. Steeped in the dance rhythms of the 90’s, I feel this CD found the Brothers at another creative high that was unfortunately ignored by the general public…thier loss remains my gain.  When the bass beat begins the song in a slow lazy way, you know that you are in for a treat..I always love it when the Brothers sing in their natural voices..the impact is just as powerful as the falsetto proved to be. This is so damn catchy I wish I could demand the entire world listen to it just once….it would win over the nations. This is fantastic…a very favorite track of mine.

Haunted House—-This missed the mark for me a bit…but one can not expect perfection all the time correct? This is still classic stuff full of masterful harmonies and heavy on the mood lighting. Still a nice example of the talent these guys possessed….just not a favorite.

Heart Like Mine—-Heavy on orchestration, this begins in a pretty somber timbre…allowing your body to really settle from the first few cuts on the release. Robin has lead vocals…with his odd yet addictive shaky vocal. The chorus allows all the Brothers to come together in a masterful harmony that is heavy on falsetto and emotion. This is great!!

Anything For You—-Rather generic, the track does manage to convey a really nice dance beat that is steady yet subtle. Barry sings all breathy and sexy….making the ladies swoon I’m sure. This is really nice….just not a really energetic or top-notch track…still it has that addictive quality buried underneath all the sex appeal.

Blue Island—-Surprisingly natural and guitar based, this is a beautiful and tender song. Barry sounds so comfortable at this range and the ability to convey his emotions at this range is fantastic. I love this…rumored to be a favorite of the band as well, this is natural, subdued and beautifully delivered.

Above And Beyond—-With an odd almost Country flair at the intro to the song, the group delivers a track that is almost reminiscent of the very early days of their incarnation when they made perfect 2 minute pop songs. This has a joyful flair that makes you happy and encourages you to hug everyone around you…the good feelings are contagious. This is fantastic!!!

For Whom the Bell Tolls—-Again, this is naturally guitar based with very little synth ao manufactured sounds. The song finds Barry at his best falsetto…when the three Brothers come together on the vocal it is literally fantastic. The real high point of the song is when Robin delivers a chorus that tears your Emotional field out of your chest and lays it bare on the table. This will make you pause, think and reminisce about all of the bad things that have occurred in your life and how you managed to overcome them. Really Wonderful!!!

Fallen Angel—-Returning to full dance mode to close out the release, the synth lines are literally fantastic. Robin again takes the vocal and manages to really impress me…this might even be Maurice??? This is wonderfully accessible and features a chorus that just explodes your heart from your chest. A really great un-appreciated release. Kudos guys…some of us really miss you!!!

**** 1/2 out of 5

Black Sabbath/Heaven And Hell

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 280000004UTC 12 by marky7235

Heaven And Hell

This was the first album after singer Ozzy Osbourne was fired from the band and replaced with Ronnie James Dio. Geoff Nicholls of Quartz also joined the band as a possible replacement for Geezer Butler who had not been around through most of the writing sessions and was going through a divorce at the time.[2] When Butler decided to stay with the group, Nicholls switched to keyboards. Nicholls remained as Black Sabbath’s keyboard player for over twenty years, usually playing live shows from off-stage.

Former Elf and Rainbow bassist Craig Gruber also rehearsed with the band. Gruber’s involvement appears to be a point of debate. In a 1996 interview, Tony Iommi mentions that Gruber played with the band for “a bit”.[3] Gruber has stated that his time with the band was much more substantial and that he only left the group once Butler decided to return.[4]

Drummer Bill Ward completed this album, but drinking and other personal factors would eventually lead him to drop out of the subsequent tour. His mid-tour replacement Vinny Appice would become an official member. [Wikipedia]

Neon Knights—-I clearly remember how we Heavy Metal fans waited with bated breath to see what this whole new incarnation of Sabbath would sound like….the fans and the world as a whole were never disappointed by this new invention. the sabbath sound remained intact and was only assisted to a higher level by the vocal abilities of Ronnie. this remains a classic song…instrumental to the careers of many Metal superstars and a starting point for the vocal histrionics of Dio. Magnificent…still sounding fresh after all of these years!!!

Children Of The Sea—-Ronnie sings in a vocal timbre that is so familiar to any Heavy Metal fan of this era…this is so Dio in sound that it could have been on any of the solo records. The vocal is the thing that makes this song huge…the sabbath dirge is intact, but the soaring and emotional vocal is a thing of beauty and mastery. Ronnie was solid in his Medieval prophesies and started to really become his own persona on this record. Remarkable!!!!

Lady Evil—-With a much more updated Sabbath sound, the deep dirge of the band is missing, instead we are treated to the trademark sound that would later define the career of Dio when he broke away from the machine. This is remarkable…a deep and intense song that fit perfectly into the 80’s underbelly of Metal. This remains classic!!!

Heaven And Hell—-One of the few songs recorded during this time period that still stands the test of time and plays so well live that you swear it is 1980 something without a pause. This track combines the Sabbath dirge with the current sensibilities of Dio to create a timeless classic that will never grow old. This is wonderfully crafted, slightly evil Metal that Ozzy could have never pulled off…this is a different and unique Sabbath…we call the Heaven And Hell. Fantastic!!!

Wishing Well—-Again, this track always surprises me because of the lack of the deep sound that was so familiar to most of the sabbath releases up to this point. This is clear crisp and concise. the leads are fantastic…the days when songs actually allowed the guitar player to play guitar. The vocal is mystical and medieval as usual, but the most remarkable part of the song is the clear and concise musicianship. This is fantastic!!!

Die Young—-For a long time, this was my favorite Dio era single…until I heard ‘I’ years later. This is full of synth guitars that give the song a huge mechanical feel…until the intro is over. Then you are blessed by the heavy bass sound of Sabbath and the aggressive vocal of Ronnie. The recording sessions for this release must have been fantastic…I can only imagine the energy and the sense of new dirextion…this single is a true example of the days when this group really came together and incorporated two different sounds and created a machine in the process.

Walk Away—-With a much more ‘electric’ feel to the instrumentation, this is right in line with the Metal Timetable of the era. Dio adds a slight blues tinge to the vocal delivery which allows the song to obtain that dirty bar feel. this is fantastic…Dio has rarely sounded better…almost as if he is in his true musical element. This is a huge crowd song that played really well in big arenas when the band toured with this release. A delicious piece of history!!!

Lonely Is The Word—-Beginning with a huge electric feel, the guitars are almost overwhelming at the onset of this track. Dio once again leans on his blues upbringing when he delivers his lines….making you think back to the early Industrial age of England when the boys went to the pub and drowned themselves in English Blues…this is fantastic and still plays so well live…get well Ronnie…we need you.

****3/4 out of 5

Gorgoroth/Destroyer-Incipit Satan [Special Dual Disc Release]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 280000004UTC 12 by marky7235

Gorgoroth is a Norwegian black metal band based in Bergen, Norway. The band was founded in 1992 by Infernus (who’s also the only original member remaining), and the name was derived from J. R. R. Tolkien‘s fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings in which Gorgoroth is a dead plateau of evil and darkness in the land of Mordor.

Destroyer is the fourth full-length album by Norwegian black metal band Gorgoroth. It was their first release on Nuclear Blast. Re-released in 2006 by Back on Black Records on gatefold LP. The subtitle of the album, “Or About How To Philosophize With The Hammer”, is also the subtitle of Nietzsche’s “The Twilight of the Idols”, which itself would be a future Gorgoroth album title.

Incipit Satan is the fifth full-length album by Norwegian black metal band Gorgoroth. It was released in February 2000 through Nuclear Blast and reissued in 2006 by Back on Black Records.

The music was written entirely by guitarists Infernus and Tormentor. It differs from other Gorgoroth albums because it includes elements of industrial music, usage of keyboards, and much more melody than other releases. Incipit Satan was also the first album to mark Gaahl as full-time vocalist and King ov Hell as bassist. The band members dedicated the album to their deceased friend and former bandmate Grim. [Wikipedia]

Destroyer:

Destroyer—-Beginning with an assaulting quality the minute you press play, this is not the release to be fucked with…there is no symphonic introduction, no gentle interludes…this is balls to the walls assaulting metal that is so noisy and aggressive, you at first ask your self what the hell am I listening to. The remarkable ability of the band to include a subtle sense of melody in the midst of all of this mayhem is amazing. This remains….THE REAL DEAL!!!

Open The Gates—-At the onset, this sounds really underproduced…this only adds to the genuity of the sound. This is without fanfare…the purpose remains…to rock your balls off and this band always delivers. The vocal is so possessed by unseen demons that you begin to experience them yourself…the bass guitar continually down shifts but remarkable keeps the same tone…the drums are huge and the vocal maintains an evil tone even though it sounds like it was recorded in a small bathroom. This is real, raw and brutal!

The Devil, The Sinner And His Journey—-With a much better production quality, this track is brutal from the first moment. The layers and layers of sound add to the mish-mash of tones, but the overall feeling remains one of anger, possession and fear. The stench of death roses from your speakers and you are welcomed to Norway in a huge way…this is magnificent…brutal and unrelenting!!!

Om Kristen Og Jodisk Tru [About Christian And Jewish Faith]—-Without a moment to breathe, this song melds almost from the previous with an unrelenting drum track and a wall of deep guitars. The vocal still sounds very far off in the distance, but the melody this band is capable of is on full display on this track. This is a huge funeral march that sucks you in from the first chord changes. Wow!!!

Pa Slagmark Langt Mot Nord [On Battlefields Far North]—-This is full of layers and layers of putrid hatred and violence…the overwhelming sense of power and brutality makes you want to punch walls and kick ass. This is a brilliant layered wall of sound that will make you go mad with repeated listens. The drums are relentless…the vocal shows a nice melodic quality despite the instrumental assault…the best of many world…this remains…a favorite of mine!!!

Blodoffer [Blood Offering]—-This from the onset, is a wall of layered almost indistinguishable mazes of music that will rattle your skull…this is the truest form of Black Metal I have ever experienced…this band remains at the forefront of the movement and this track is proof of why…at times, the song has an almost Industrial bent…but never looses the meaning and force of the intended genre. Remarkable!!!

Slottet I Det Fjerne [Hidden Track-Darkthrone Cover]—-Paying homage to another ground breaking band in the genre, this is a huge undertaking that the band handles with little problem. The tone of the music is sinister and dark…the vocal tone speaks of possession, suffering and disgust. This is a remarkably layered, orchestrated wall of guitar noise with a relentless drum track leading the way through the possessive fog. Fantastic!!!

*** out of 5

Incipit Satan:

Incipit Satan—-This release begins even muddier than the previous…Gaahl delivers vocals that are almost on the cutting edge of the most popular German Industrial movement. This is almost consisted of pure noise and you wonder how anyone could even begin to comprehend any of the lyrics…to me, this is almost to noisy…and that is saying a lot for me!!! Not a favorite….

A World To Win—-From the onset, this is a much more accessible and listenable track….you notice at once the sound effects the band has embraced…the quasi-industrial sounds are all over the song…perhaps the first time the band has incorporated synthetic sounds into its world…for me, this only makes the sound more evil and desperate. This is remarkable…I love this band!!!

Litani Til Satan [Les Litanies De Satan]—-You cannot deny the damn catchy sensibilities that this band is able to put across with this release. Gaahl is a great vocalist and it melds very well with the more modern sounds of the band on this release. The huge power chords are almost publically accessible!!!! This is huge Black Metal that is listenable but still shakes your bones from your skull all the way down…fantastic….

Unchain My Heart—-The introduction to this track will shock most fans of the band as it is so toned down and accessible, you ar relived when the mayhem kicks into full gear. This is pummeling metal…the speed of the song rivals anything you can but even today…the evil timbres stick in your brain and infest your soul. This is huge, magnificent and full of enough chord changes to make you bi-polar…..literally genius!!!

An Excerpt Of X—-With a nice extended and layered intro, sildthe band takes their time building up to the mayhem that is sure to ensue. The guitars are so large and layered that you question if there is two or two hundred. This is remarkable…your temples throb and your heart races ans the opening strains of the true composition finally begin to take shape. This is incredible…the sound is clear and still hazy, crisp and very dirty. The bass enters the track and takes the track to an almost blues lean with a black metal edge…Brilliant!!! This is standout…my favorite track from this release, this is experimental Black Metal that will not let you down!!!

Ein Eim Av Blod Og Helvetesild [A Reek Of Blood And Hellfire]—-No fancy introductions or playing around, this track hearkens back to the underproduced and sonically challenged tracks of the bands beginnings. There is so much masterful noise going on with this that you are muddied down with all the effects. This is remarkable…this is so grand…I may have to listen to it a few times before I file it away again. Fantastic!!!

Will To Power—-Laden with Industrial remnants thanks to keyboard manipulations, this intro almost rapes the band of the power that it possesses. The band did not delve into this type of experimentation for long and I am really glad…this was not what the band was all about. This is not a bad track, but it is missing the brutality and originality that the band always stood for. The opening is far too long…once the mayhem pursues, it is masterful….but difficult to wait for.

When Love Rages Wild In My Heart—-What…..Love…..whatever???? Slow to begin, the guitar intro to the song is almost too mainstream for me…I much prefer the dirge of noise that the band is typically known for…to put it mildly…..this track is shit…pure deep brown smelly shit!!!

*** out of 5

Big Country/Come Up Screaming [Live]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 270000004UTC 12 by marky7235

Big Country were a rock band from Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, popular in the early to mid-1980s but still releasing material for a cult following until 2005. The band were notable for music heavily accented with traditional Scottish folk and martial music styles, as well as for playing and engineering their guitar sound to resemble the bagpipes, fiddles and other traditional folk instruments.

Throughout the 1990s, Big Country became a popular ‘opening act’, supporting such bands as Rolling Stones and The Who. Big Country had backed Daltrey on his 1985 solo album Under the Raging Moon, and Tony Butler played bass and backing vocals on Pete Townshend‘s 1980 hit single “Let My Love Open the Door”. Both Butler and Brzezicki performed on Townshend’s 1985 solo album White City: A Novel. Brzezicki has performed with The Cult on several tours and CD’s also.

Of growing concern, however, was the mental and emotional health of lead singer Adamson, who reportedly had struggled with alcoholism for several years. Adamson split with his first wife, who later spoke to Scottish and English tabloids about his heavy drinking. He moved to Nashville in the mid-1990s where he took up residence and married a hairdresser. While in Nashville, he met noted artist Marcus Hummon and released an acclaimed studio album with him under the moniker The Raphaels.

In 1995 Big Country released another album Why the Long Face?.

1999 saw the release of Big Country’s eighth and final studio album, Driving to Damascus (titled in its slightly different, augmented U.S. release John Wayne’s Dream). Adamson said publicly that he was disappointed that the album did not fare better on the charts, which led to depression. Later that year, he disappeared for a while before resurfacing, stating that he had needed some time off.

Adamson returned for the band’s ‘Final Fling’ farewell tour, culminating in a sold-out concert at Glasgow‘s Barrowland Ballroom on 31 May 2000. Although that marked the end of Big Country as a touring band, they were always adamant that they would appear together again. They played what turned out to be their last gig in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in October that year.

In November 2001, Adamson disappeared again. Numerous appeals were put on the Big Country website asking for Adamson to call home and speak to anyone in the band, the management company, or his ex-wife. The website also requested that any fans who might have been ‘harbouring’ the singer to contact the management company and alert them to his whereabouts. Mark Brzezicki and Tony Butler had indicated they were concerned but the reason Big Country had lasted so long was they stayed out of one another’s personal lives, and both later noted they were unaware of the extent of Adamson’s problems. He was found dead in a room at the Best Western Plaza Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii on 16 December 2001. The official autopsy revealed that he had hanged himself.[10][11][12]

At the time of death he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.279%.

A memorial to Adamson was held at Dunfermline’s Carnegie Hall in January 2002, followed by a tribute concert at the Barrowlands in May. It brought together the remaining members of both Big Country and The Skids; Adamson’s teenage children, Callum and Kirsten; as well as Steve Harley, Runrig, Simon Townshend, Midge Ure and Bill Nelson. [Wikipedia]

Disc One:

Harvest Home—-Opening with a glorious track from the band’s debut release, you at once notice how tight and magnificent the band sounds. Adamson delivers a vocal that is damn near pitch perfect and the huge crowd sings along to every word of this huge uplifting anthem. this is fantastic…the crowd loves this band.

King Of Emotion—-Almost at once, the crowd recognizes the song and goes literally nuts. The count off and the crowd interaction makes this track even larger than it is to begin with. Stuart sounds so comfortable and at home on the stage it is easy to forget all of the personal turmoil that he was experiencing at the time. This is brilliant…the band plays so well together it is as if this were a studio recording. This is incredible…huge energy and unstoppable emotion.

Driving To Damascus—-With a smooth yet huge guitar intro, the song begins with a nice blues edge that is undeniably catchy. Adamson almost talk his way through the song as he tells a tale that is almost Americana. It is hard to find songs these days that actually tell a story in the small amount of time that they last. This remained a band of great storytellers and that talent is on brilliant display here. This is great!!

John Wayne’s Dream—-A bit louder and more emotional rock oriented, this again elicits a huge crowd response. The guitar sound of this band is huge and remarkably does not diminish to allow the entrance of the vocal. This is not a bad thing though…the vocal is just as strong in the mix as is the sound of the band. This is incredible…the energy and the quality of the mixing adds to the overall experience…you feel as if you are right in the center of this arena.

The Storm—-The opening strains of the song again provoke the arena size crowd to literally go crazy. The ability of this band to make their instruments sound so Celtic is remarkable, and this song is no exception. As the drums enter the mix, the crowd sounds like a drunken mob in too small of a pub. Adamson delivers a rough brogue that only inspires you to pump your fist and revel in the joyful mood of the track. This is fantastic….one of the really unappreciated rock bands of the 80’s that many consider to be a one-hit wonder….big mistake!!!

Where The Rose Is Sown—-The drums usher in this energetic and wonderfully received track that again leans heavily on the bagpipe guitar sound that was trademark for the band. The other trademark of the band…the vocal of Adamson is on full display and has never sounded better to me. this is well received and even better delivered. Remarkable…a classic track.

Come Back To Me—-With nice military style drums, the song begins with a rather subdued and serious musical tone. This is nice….the guitars are understated and the vocal is serious and full of emotion. the tale is one that will bring tears to your eyes if you really pay attention to them. The one thing about this band that was never appreciated was the socially aware tones of many of the songs….this is a great example.

Somebody Else—-Kicking things back into a familiar and high gear, the guitars come in with the trademark sound of the band. The vocal is decidedly American…with little of the accent or brogue apparent. This is a straight up rock song that shows the maturity and talent of the band. This is really nice!!!

Dive Into Me—-Sedate and delivered with emotion and energy, this is a new song for me….the chorus is a huge affair that I need to investigate…I need to research what release this was from. I really like the feel of this track and the conflicting feelings that are all delivered in a short time span. this is nice….a keeper for sure.

Look Away—- Ahhhh…that familiar bag pipe sound never gets old for me…this is really nice. Combining trademark sounds with a slight blues bass sound, the song seems to grow and grow as it progresses. This is fantastic…Stuart sounds so clear and concise, it is almost hard for me to believe that he was so deep into alcohol as he was…this is practised and damn near perfect…and the crowd loves this band.

You Dreamer—-Full of incredible energy and emotion. this is a classic song that I have never tired of listening to. Perhaps this is an Adamson song to hinself…not fully able to realize the dream and suffering from the realization that it was out of his reach…this interpretation [my own] makes the song much more impactful than it already is.

You To Me—-With a very sedate and minimal instrumentation, this song is so well mixed that you almost feel as if you are in the very room while this was being preformed. The emotion is so deep and the vocal incantations display that feeling in a really powerful way. This is heartbreaking!!!

Disc Two:

The President Slipped & Fell—-The band returns from an intermission and opens with a track that really does not appeal to me…although the crowd seems to really love this. To me, this is just filler and never really had a great impact for me…next…..

Lost Patrol—-With a really long instrumental introduction, by the time the bass really kicks in, the crowd is literally going crazy. Stuart emerges with his brogue in full effect and the song immediately becomes contagious as hell. This is a huge arena sized song and the band pulls it out just in time…it seems to replenish and invigorate the crowd in a masterful way…that is experience on full display.

3 Valleys—- Again, this elicits a huge crowd response and they seem to know every single word to the song as they help Adamson along with the vocal…the result is fantastic as it is transported to record. Whomever mixed this release knew what they were doing and you can tell that from the very first listen to this. Remarkable…this is a treat!!!

Inwards—-Diving head first into one of the best songs that the band ever recorded, this is fantastic. I have loved this from the very first time I ever heard this and transported to a live setting, the song is even faster and more emotional than the original…the crowd provokes the band to rock even harder and they deliver. Adamson delivers every word with the same emotion and feeling that the original contains…this is the highlight of the show for me….return to this as often as you can.

Wonderland—-With a remarkable crowd response, the band makes the audience wait a bit before the vocal really kicks into gear. Adamson delivers his vocal as if this is the first time he has ever delivered this to an audience…this is remarkable…it just shows his passion and that he refuses to just go through the motions…I am sad all over again that he died the way he did and that he was alone. This is wonderful!!!

We’re Not In Kansas—-With a really nice guitar intro, the song delivers a huge arena size sound that plays just as well on record. This is classic stuff…adamson is so full of energy and I envision in my mind how he must have been stalking the stage and flashy that wonderful grin of his. This is fantastic!!!

Porrah Man—-Returning for the first encore, the band again displays the finer details of the music that they made. The guitars on this track are intricate and masterful….the crowd loves this…you can hear them far above the level of music. The delivery of the vocal seems to really push Stuart at this point as it is a higher tone than he is accustomed to…yet it plays very well thanks to the wonderful instrumentation. This is great!!!

Chance—-Another of my very favorite tracks from this band, the band returns for the second and final encore and literally throws the crowd into a frenzy with this mini-3 song set. The emotion and true feeling that is displayed in this track is remarkable. The crowd sings EVERY single word as Adamson tries to get some control over the mike but gives up and lets the audience sing the song instead. This is heart wrenching…the feeling and emotion is real and you will feel a certain emptiness after hearing this…but it is a good form…this is a crowd that LOVES their band.

In A Big Country—-The signature song of the band is delivered to a frenzied crowd much as you would expect. The band performs as if this were the first song of the show and the result is a huge sing a long that gives you goose bumps and a remarkable sense of loss as you listen back on it. This is fan-tab-u-lous!!!

Fields Of Fire—The closing song of this huge set finds the band sounding just as fresh as it was at the onset…the crowd sounds just as frenzied and energized as well. This is tremendous…the siganture song of the band, this was far better than Big country as far as I’m concerned and I have often wondered what would have happened if they would have released this as a single first before Big Country and what that might have done for their longevity. None the less…this has been a fantastic look back at one of the most underrated bands of the 80’s that lasted well into the later decade. RIP Stuart…we miss that voice…but we always have the memories.

***** out of 5

Men Without Hats/My Hats Collection

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 270000004UTC 12 by marky7235

The Silver CollectionMen Without Hats was a Canadian New Wave group from Montreal, Quebec characterized by the deep, expressive baritone of their lead singer Ivan Doroschuk and their elaborate use of synthesizers and electronic processing. They achieved their greatest popularity in the early to mid 1980s with their most successful single, “The Safety Dance“, a Top 10 hit in both the US and the UK, as well as other countries including South Africa.

The ‘My Hats Collection’ was released in 2006. [Wikipedia]

The Safety Dance—-Perhaps one of the most recognizable synthpop songs of the 80’s, this also remains the bands biggest hit [although not necessarily the best]. With a remarkable and contagious synth line, the song was reportedly written in contrast to the emerging punk movement..assuring fans of the band that it was safe to dance. With an unforgettable video to accompany the song, this will never be forgotten to those of us who lived and enjoyed the music of the 80’s.

Living In China—-With a remarkable synth line, the addictive quality of this song lies in the quirky and comprehensible vocal. The underlying melody that the band managed to emit despite all the machines remains admirable. This is so damn catchy, I still enjoy and relish this track. You will love this vocal!!!

Antarctica—-From the onset, the musical lines of the song make me think of classic Berlin. The vocal is cold and distant, undergoing manipulations that make it as cold as the area they are singing about. You still cannot deny the poppy synth line that catches your   some attention and warms the song more than intended I think.

I Got The Message—-This falls along the same lines as Safety Dance…the synth lines are almost identical. The saving grace of the track is the chorus, which incorporates a female backdrop singer that adds warmth to the cold and almost robotic lead vocal. This is literally fabulous…oh I really miss the 80’s sometimes. This remains…..wonderful!!!

I Like—-Suffering a bit from a certain consistent sound, the song follows much in the same vein as much of this release. The saving grace is once again a huge chorus and the damn snaky synth line that embeds itself in your brain and will not leave you alone for a day or so. Magical!

Where Do Boys Go—-Why this track was not a huge hit for the band in the US still remains a mystery to me as it charted very high all over the world except for here. This is much faster paced in the synth delivery…the vocal is colder and more detached than anything I have heard since Gary Numan…this is a masterful example of machines leading and setting the tone for the entire rest of the composition…one of my very favorite tracks from this band.

Freeways [Euromix]—-This is a prime example of what I used to call euro-trash disco. This is freaking brilliant. By far my favorite track from this band ever. This is energetic, fun and full of machine-made beats that stick to your very soul. The song has a decidedly slow start, but once the swirling synth gets you, you are hopelessly sucked in. This is fabulous…in every sense of the word!!

Editions Of You—-With a lighter tones and higher pitched synth lines, the pop overtones of this track cannot be denied. The simple melody is so damn catchy you will reach for this automatically during your favorite 80’s nite. This is remarkable….the joyful delivery is unforgettable and will undoubtedly live with you for a bit.

Pop Goes The World—-A minor hit for the band in the US, this was a worldwide smash otherwise. Keeping true to the trademark sound of the band, the song is crafted around a simple synth melody that sucks you in from the first listen. This remains a really great song even after all of these years. The most refreshing point of the song is just the simple fact that the deep baritone of the lead vocal is gone from the track, replaced by a chorus of mid tempo voices that allow the music to sing for the band. This is a creation!!!

Tomorrow Today—-Beginning with a much deeper bass line, you almost at once notice the difference id the sound of production. This seems dirty and muddier and lacks some of the true pop sensibilities of the band that has always appealed to me. The deep tones of the song erases some of the beauty of the band…this remains a mistake.

Gravity Is My Enemy—-Returning to full synth mode, this track is much crisper and clearer than the previous song. The synth line is alive and fresh and at times makes me think of the B-52’s. This is fantastic…the spoken word intro adds to the fun of the track and the odd organ sounds give the track even more layers and atmosphere. Great!

Heaven—-With a huge Euro-styled dance intro, the song is much bigger at the onset than it turns out to be. The vocal is classic and fantastic…I love how this guy sings. You can not deny the emotion and the true feeling that is conveyed…you belive every word of this track. This is fantastic!!! WOW!!!

The Safety Dance [12″ Mix]—-This differs little from the original…the main difference is the addition of some heavier bass and extended sounds of the synth line that made the song huge. The almost spoken intro is nice and builds until the actual track begins…not incredibly special, but really nice to have.

Where Do Boys Go [12″ Mix]—-This is the best non-European Euro-disco that was ever made. This remix makes the track even larger than the original and the build up remains incredible. By time the synth lines really hit, you are nearly mad with anticipation. This is fantastic!!!

****1/2 out of 5